Hello, I’m George Simpson and welcome to our 2020 Adventure Tire Shootout. We enjoyed testing these tires for the last 15 months or so and we put lot of blood, sweat and sometimes tears in order to be able to give you the ultimate details of how each of these tires actually perform out there in the wild.
I have received many questions in regards to the first three or four tires that were tested. Many people were interested on which one of those tires is my favorite tire and I was able to give them a really good answer. At first I was giving a straight answer pointing out this tire versus this tire. But in the testing process, which was quite elaborated since we tested 25 different 80 20 and 50 50 tires, my answer has changed. I realized that the tires perform in a certain way depending on the style of riding you are doing, the type of specific ride you are going on, what bike you’re riding, and it’s just crazy. Literally, for a ride to Alaska, I would choose a different tire than if I was gonna ride down to Baja versus going to Colorado, while for riding super gnarly rugged peaks I would choose a completely different tire.
The hard part in making a good idea about all these 80 20 and 50 50 tires was the fact that we wanted a tire that performs like a sport bike. The street kind of tire, never losing traction. We could say we were really looking for a unicorn! The kind of tire that gives you major longevity, like 12,000, 15,000 miles, is an absurd thing to ask from a tire that you want to be super sticky. We were also looking for a tire that rolls smoothly on the highway and does not make any noise. And last but not least, we were searching for an off-road tire that hooks up like a knobby tire. I mean, what we were asking to the tire manufacturers to produce for us, it’s really ridiculous! However, the interesting part about this is that there is a tire that falls into perfectly each one of those categories!
It is a tire that will give you the exact performance you were searching for on a ride. In order to discover the perfect 50/50 or the perfect 80/20 Adventure Tire, we took these tires out and put them through their paces. Now, before we did that, I went ahead and documented all of the specific tails that each of these tires have to offer. I was looking at tire size, tire weight, tread depth, durometer rating, what the tread ply construction is, sidewall construction, how many plies there are, the max speed and load ratings, the max psi on the sidewall, whether it’s tuber tubeless, where it was made. Once we gathered all these detailed measurements of these tires, we took the tires out into the wild.
We started out in the sand wash to scrub man. We then got off on to some backcountry roads and did some high-speed twisties up highway 18. We jumped off into the dirt and tested the skills of each of these tires on some relatively rugged off-road. It followed some hill climbs, some downhill descents. There was a lots of action that these tires were put through. I was thinking on how to present this information to you. I struggled a little bit looking just at the performance of the tire leaving longevity out and leaving price out. In the light of these details, I came down to some really heavy hitting tires. Then, when I factored in the amount of miles that these tires go, that weight shifted. But then, when I added price into the mix, the weight shifted again. So it really just depends on what you’re looking for a tire. Are you looking for a budget tire to get you lots and lots of miles? We have that tire for you today and I’m going to tell you which tire that is.
However, before ranking these tires on 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, I’d like to tell you about some of the interesting specifics that I found while putting this test together. The first thing is going to be tire weight. As far as front tires go, there are weights from 8 pounds 14 ounces, all the way up to 13 pounds 7 ounces. Interestingly enough, when we did our atv tire test, we found that weight was a huge factor. The tires that were lighter and spun up quicker, tended to do better in certain situations. The fact that this test was done on Africa twin and the KTM 1190, didn’t make it feel any loss of power when running any of these tires, no matter how heavy they are. However, if you ride a KLR 650 or a smaller displacement bike, maybe a 500cc cb500x or something like that, you might notice the power loss if you use a very heavy tire. So I’m looking at the lightest tires. The lightest 50/50 tire was the Metzler Karoo 3 at 8, pounds 14 ounces. The lightest rear 50/50 tire was going to be the Continental TKC 80 at 14 pounds 12 ounces. Now, when it comes to the heaviest tire, lineup the front and rear, both go to the Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire . That front tire weighed in at 13 pounds 7 ounces and the rear tire weighed in at 20 pounds 8 ounces. That is a significantly heavier tire than some of the others out there in the marketplace. If you think that’s almost five pounds different than the T TKC80, that weight difference is huge. On a smaller displacement bike that doesn’t have a whole lot of horsepower, that weight difference alone will definitely affect the performance and power that you’re putting to the ground. Another question that I get often is regarding tread depth. The manufacturers don’t typically put out tread depth of these tires and I was really shocked when I did the measurements. There really is a pretty big variance. The deepest front tread depth we had was 18 30 seconds and the deepest rear was 17 30 seconds.
The deepest front goes to the Anakee Wild front and the deepest rear goes to the Motaz Rally tire and the Adventure tire. They both measure the same at 17 30 seconds. When it comes to the shallowest tread depth, we’re looking at 5 30 seconds of an inch for the Bridgestone Battlax AX41 and seven thirty seconds for the rear of the Bridgestone AX 41S. Another huge factor that went into how these tires perform as far as longevity goes, is going to be the durometer reading. We took a durometer and we surveyed every single tire. Now the interesting thing is for those tires that have a dual compound we get two different readings: one in the center and one out on the side. In durometer readings, the hardness of rubber compounds are measured by the shore a durometer. The higher the durometer reading, the harder the compound. A dorama reading of seventy should be used whenever possible, as it offers the best combination of properties for most o-rings applications. That 70 is that perfect density of rubber for o-rings, because in the results from measuring these tires, that’s pretty much for the majority of these tires fall. The softest tire in the mix is going to be a durometer reading of 66 and the hardest tire in the mix is going to be a durometer reading of 81 66 to 80, one that’s for a pretty big swing. The 66 goes to the Avon Trailrider, which is a dual compound tire.
The center compound was 72 and the side compound was 66. The hardest durometer reading of the tire group was a tie. We have a reading of 81 and that tie was between the Metzler Karoo 3 and the Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire. So the biggest variance that I saw in durometer readings it’s again that Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire. The front tire measures a 67 and the rear tire measures an 81. That mixture of rubber hardness is very interesting. So if you’re running the TrailMax Mission tire , that front and rear tire should be wearing out about the same. That front is going to stick like glue to pavement and that rear tire is going to give you a little bit more longevity than you would have seen if they would have used a softer compound. Looking quickly at country-of-origin, there’s only one tire that’s made in America and that’s going to be that Dunlop TrailMaxMission tire . When it comes to the other tires in the lineup, the mixes across the board.
We have China, we have Taiwan, we have Brazil, we’ve got Germany, just all over the board. Interestingly enough, the Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires actually come from three different countries. They come from Brazil, they come from China and they come from Germany. The last thing I want to touch quickly is in regards to the plies that are used to make up these tires. Most of these tires out there have a four ply tread and a two ply sidewall. There’s a huge variance of what’s used out there. The most commonly used materials are nylon, polyamide, polyester, aramid, rayon, steel and even fiberglass. Out of this mix, there are six tires that use one steel ply in their tire make up. Those tires are going to be the Sinko E805, the Karoo Street, the AX 41S, the A41, the Scorpion Rally, the Scorpion Rally STR. Now there is one tire in this mix that uses a fiberglass ply. Now it’s two plies of fiberglass actually that go into that tire and that tire is the brand new Dunlop TrailMax Mission Tire. Dunlop has done a lot of interesting things with this tire and it really exceed expectations when it comes to that tire. When you look at it, it looks more like an 80/20 tire than a 50/50, but in all of the punishing that we have put to that tire, we really have proved or confirmed that it truly is a 50/50 tire. Now without further ado, let’s get into the results of the 2020 adventure tire shoot out.
Now, when it came to scoring these tires, I looked at doing a good, better best type scenario, but I ended up going with kind of like the motocross style rating. We have a scale of one to ten, one being the best, ten being the worst and the tires with the lowest scores are going to win. The swing between the scores here is going to be between 31 and 71 when we look at all of the categories that are out there. When you talk about a tire that performed really well doing about 30 and a tire that was less performing or more expensive or got less mileage than the other tire, is going to be much much higher up at that 70 point range. If we take price and we take mileage out of the mix completely and we just look at pure performance, those numbers shift just a little bit. The best scoring tire has a 22 and the worst scoring tire has a 58. When it comes to performance, only our three top tires are going to be the Michelin Anakee Adventure, the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR and the Shinko 705. These three tires only vary in points by four points. We have the Anakee Adventure coming in at 22, the STR coming in at 25 and the Shinko 705 coming in at 26. To have a clear view on the tires we add mileage into the mix and we add in the number of miles that you can expect to see out of those tires and made an estimated mileage. So what I did was taking a look at the measurements that we got in these tires when they were new versus what they look like sitting here on the shelf. I also took a look at the web to see what riders are getting out there and I looked at our customers feedback and I actually surveyed customers who purchased these tires from us to find out how many miles they had gotten on their tires.
So the miles that I’m speaking of here are estimated miles, they really aren’t truth. That truth is going to vary, depending on what you’re riding, how much power you’re put into the ground, how much of a load you’re carrying and how much speed you travel out. And the biggest thing is: do you check your air pressure and do you run your tires at the appropriate air pressure for the type of riding that you’re doing? So if we are to add mileage into the mix we still have those three tires at the top of our list, but the order changes just a little bit. The Michelin Anakee Adventure stays on top, but the Shinko 705 becomes number two and the Pirelli Scorpion Rally becomes number three. Now, when it comes to price, we had a huge discrepancy between the lowest and the highest. We’re looking at one hundred and sixty-seven dollars for the Shinko 705 and we’re looking at three hundred and thirty seven dollars for the Michelin (check out the Anakee Wild Review Here). Now, how much performance are you going to get out of that Anakee Adventure versus the Shinko 705 for that huge swing in price? Probably the biggest benefit you’re going to get from that mix, is going to be that dual compound. You’re going to get a little bit more mileage out of that Anakee Adventure and due to their dual compound, as soon as you get that tire leaned over, you’re actually going to stick better to the ground on the Anakee Adventure than you are on the Shinko 705. Now, looking at this nearly two hundred dollar difference in price, are you okay with that? And that is why we sell boatloads of Shinko 705. The price, the value and the performance of that tire really is pretty spectacular. But if money is no object and you’re looking for just the best of the best performing tire in this 80/20 segment, I’m going to recommend that you pick up the Michelin Anakee Adventure. We punished that tire in lots of different scenarios, and we’ve got to say that that tire really does perform well for a tire that is meant primarily for street, but also does off-road really well. Now, I have wrapped up the top three 80/20 tires so make sure you read all the way to the end. I’m going to give you the top three tires for every single category that we ran these tires through, but that’s going to take quite a bit of time, so I want to get to the meat and potatoes of the 50/50 Plus tires.
So, let’s jump in now. If you’re looking for the most aggressive off-road tire that you can put on your large adventure bike, that is what we’re going to talk about right now. The 50/50 segment is really huge and those percentages really vary as well. If we’re really looking at this true percentage of the Scorpion Rally tire up here, this thing’s more like a 10 percent on-road 90 percent off-road. If we look at some of the other tires up there that truly are a true 50/50 we could mention the Heidenau K60 Scout. It does good on-road and it does good off-road, but it does have some pretty big compromises in both of those segments and that’s really what allows it to be a good 50/50 tire. Is it the best you can get to get in the dirt? Absolutely not, because of that blasted center strip. Is it going to be one of the smoother running tires on the cement? Yes, because of that great center strip. Is it going to give you lots of longevity? Yes, because the durometer reading of that tire is pretty high and that rubber compound is pretty hard not to mention the sidewall on that tire is extremely stiff.
Those characteristics will allow you to get lots of mileage, but when it comes to cold and wet weather, that tire isn’t going to perform very well. Unfortunately, due to those concerns that I talked about in each of those different areas, that’s why the Heidenau K60 Scout did not make the top of our list also combined with the fact that is one of the more expensive tires in the lineup. Part of that reason is that you can literally get 12 to 15,000 miles out of that tire, if run in the right conditions. Now that K60 Scout is going to be the optimum tire for those of you who are looking to make a single purchase and ride the wheels off of your motorcycle. When it comes to mileage, the second highest mileage tire here in the lineup is going to be the Motoz Tractionator GPS tire . That tire is a phenomenal tire. It gives you 50/50 traction one direction and mostly off-road traction flipped around and run the opposite direction. You’re not going to be flipping tires as you get to specific areas. But if you know you’re going to be riding more hardcore off-road, use the mostly off-road pattern. If you’re going to be riding mostly on the street, then use the 50/50 pattern. That tire is a great tire with a nice rubber compound, feels good on the road and gets you lots and lots of mileage. Now, when looking at mileage and we add mileage into the mix, two more tires popped up into that top range. The Motoz Tractionator Rally and the Motoz Tractionator Adventure tires. Those are two very good tires if you’re looking to get maximum off-road capability and great longevity as well.
Now we’ve talked about mileage, let’s jump into performance of these 5050 tires. Who is going to be the first, second and third place winners in our 2020 adventure tire shootout? When looking at the results, if we take in consideration the performance only, the best performing tires scored a 29 and the least performing tire scored a 67. That is a huge swing in the numbers when looking at how these tires performed out there in the wild. The Bridgestone AX41 tire is the best performing 50/50 tire that you can put in a motorcycle. However that does come to a very big drawback. If you take a look at the tread of the Bridgestone Battlax AX41, and the Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire , you’re going to see about a thousand miles we’ve put on the Bridgestone, and Dunlop has almost 3,000 miles on it. The tread depth difference of these two tires is relatively extreme and that’s really what knocked that AX41 off of first place. Looking at the 50/50 segment, I’m gonna go ahead and give you the top five best performing tires. And the reason that I’m going to extend it out to five for this group is because the percentage of dirt versus street on these tires is huge. So the top five: number one is going to be the Bridgestone Battlax AX41, number two the Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire. Third place comes in the Motoz Tractionator GPS, fourth place is the Michelin Anakee Wild and fifth place is the Pirelli Scorpion Rally. Now some of you might question how the Scorpion Rally could have got into those top five, but it really is because it performed so extremely well in the off-road portion of the test. It basically blew all of these tires out of the water as far as its performance in the sand, in the dirt, on the mountains, over baby heads. the construction of that tire and the super knobby tread pattern really allowed it to perform. Well, now, looking at those top five tires, we’re going to have several different tires out there. The most aggressive off-road tire you can put on your motorcycle is the Pirelli Scorpion Rally.
In my opinion, the second best performing off-road tire up there all-around performer is going to be the Bridgestone Battlax AX41. It has a phenomenal performance, but it comes at a price. This thing you’re only going to get about two 3,000 miles out of before you’re buying your next set of tires. Moving on up the next most aggressive tire that you’re going to find this lineup is going to be that Michelin Anakee Wild tire. That is a great tire for off-road and it does good on-road as well. People are getting four or five thousand miles out of that tire. So if you’re looking for a super knobby tire that gets great longevity, that’s one that you should probably take a look at. The next two tires line up are going to be high mileage tires. The Dunlop TrailMax Mission tire you are probably looking at somewhere between six and eight thousand miles. And then the Motoz Tractionator GPS tire , a lot of guys that I’ve talked to have gotten 10,000 miles out of this tire. It’s a great tire that does great off-road. It has great street manners and it can get you anywhere you need to go when you get off the tarmac.
Now we add price into the mix. The lowest set of tires you can get is a hundred and sixty six dollars. That’s going to be the Shinko E804/E805. That’s a very aggressive, very well performing tire on the street, it’s extremely inexpensive, but the mileage is pretty lacking when it comes to that tire. But if you’re looking for a tire that’s going to do well in the dirt and do well on road and it’s extremely inexpensive that Shinko E804/E805 combo is definitely the tire combo I recommend. Now, when adding price into the mix, this really surprised me quite a bit. We have the least expensive set of tires, the Shinko E804/E805 and right around one hundred and sixty-seven dollars for the pair. You then jump up to the most expensive tire here in the lineup, which is three hundred and fifty dollars. And that just happens to be the last tire that we tested: the Mitas E-10 Dakar tire. This tire is a phenomenal off-road tire. I really liked it! It handled California rain grooves just perfectly, but I am melting the tread off of those tires. They’re still mounted on my KTM 1190 Adventure R!
I’ve only got 500 miles on those tires, and they look very good. But again, if price is not an option and I want to do some extreme off-road riding that Mitas E-10 Dakar tire is amazing. So this was the official results of the 2020 adventure tire shootout. If you have any questions about any of the tires that we have ridden on, please leave a comment down below. If you have an experience that you want to share about the set of tires that you were running on your motorcycle we’d love to hear about that too, so, please leave a comment. Well, thank you for joining us on this epic tire testing adventure.